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The 2021 XTM X-TIGER

The NATO Tiger Meet is a yearly tradition. Each year, squadrons from NATO Air Forces that carry a tiger in their emblem get together for exercises and fraternization.

The 1st time I was at a NATO Tiger Meet was in 1985. It was quite memorable. I remember having a lot of fun at the airshow back then.

2021 marked the 60th anniversary of the NATO Tiger Association and the 70th anniversary of the BAF 31SQN; a tiger squadron. Therefor, 31SQN had to honor to host the 2021 Tiger Meet. Even though it was a scaled down version due to COVID, 31SQN created a special paint scheme for the event.

Here’s the 2021 XTM X-Tiger. It is XT-ROAR-DINARY!

2021 XTM X-Tiger of Belgian Air Force 31SQN
2021 XTM X-Tiger of Belgian Air Force 31SQN
2021 XTM X-Tiger of Belgian Air Force 31SQN
2021 XTM X-Tiger of Belgian Air Force 31SQN

Of course, the X-Tiger led the pack of tigers for a final fly-by at the end of the show. That’s the prerogative of the squadron that hosts the Tiger meet.

Fly-By of Several NATO Tiger Squadrons

Personal Protection Detail

My friend and model Romi has joined my personal protection detail. Armed to the teeth–with airsoft guns obviously–she makes me feel very safe in my photo studio. All in good fun of course guys! ’cause neither me nor Romi are mean, dangerous or aggressive. As a matter of fact, Romi is the sweetest young lady you’ll ever meet.

Model Romi Joins my Personal Protection Detail
Model Romi Joins my Personal Protection Detail

Hug a Hawkeye

The Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye is a remarkable airplane. It is 17.6m long and has a wingspan of 24.6m. Its a carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft with a takeoff weight 26 tons. Try to park that on a 330m by 75m deck of an aircraft carrier at about a 100knots.

Me and my best buddy spent several days at Pensacola NAS and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL when we visited it back in 2014. I thought the Hawkeye was just the coolest aircraft. The 1st day, I spent quite a bit of time photographing it. I could resist running my hand along the fuselage and engines. The next couple of days, I would first go see the Hawkeye before we did anything else. And every time, I would run my hand along the fuselage. Hence the phrase hug a Hawkeye was coined.

When I saw that a E-2C Hawkeye from the French Navy was on the flight schedule for the 2021 Sanicole Airshow, I was super excited. And even though I did get to hug that Hawkeye, it was one of the high lights of the show for me.

Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye of the French Navy

Black on Turquoise

This is how things start… A little conversation between Axelle and I:

Me: Axelle, you’ve been a ballet dancer, right?
Axelle: Eumh… Yeah! Why?
Me: I have a little crazy idea for a shoot…
Axelle: Ooooh boy. Do I even wanna know?
Me: I don’t know. But you’ll get to wear latex.
Axelle: OK! Count me in!

Well, that was sorta the way it went. I did give her more details after that. Just as I expected, she didn’t back out. She was all in. And she must have done like 50 squads to get the 1st part of this set just right. When she started to get cramps halfway through the shoot, I played the nice guy and gave her a little stool to continue the rest of the set.

Axelle is wearing black latex from William Wilde and Westward Bound for this set. And she wears either high heels from Pleaser Shoes or ballet heels from Kassiopeya. All from my personal collection.

Model Axelle black latex and ballet heels
Model Axelle black latex and ballet heels
Model Axelle black latex and ballet heels
Model Axelle black latex and ballet heels

This set came with the obligatory hair-flip pic. A tradition Axelle and I started with her previous shoot. And a tradition we intend to continue for a little while.

Model Axelle flips her hair in  black latex and high heels

Latex Little Black Dress

I still love the idea of a little black dress. It might be the simplest of outfits but it brings out the natural beauty of a model. OK, I’ll admit: I prefer a latex little black dress… And shiny black high heels. But still…

That latex little black dress gave us so many options to shoot. Let me demonstrate.

Halloween is just a few days away and Zana has found her perfect outfit. She said she wants to go trick’n’treating as dark bunny. I hope she lets me tag along for the candy.

Zana Will Be a Latex Bunny for Halloween
Zana Will Be a Latex Bunny for Halloween
Zana Will Be a Latex Bunny for Halloween

On top of that, Zana’s beautiful face and lush hairdo makes for absolutely gorgeous portraits. In color and black & white. 1 outfit, so many options. These pics were a lot of fun to do. Thanks Zana!

Hands

On occasion, I like to step out of my comfort zone and shoot something I have never shot before. In this case, it was something I wouldn’t come up with myself: HANDS! I spent a whole evening shooting nothing but hands.

I did it as a favor for Shannety who needed promo images for a website she was designing. After a night of hard work and tons of patience from my 2 models, these photos now grace the site Shannety designed. Go check out:

daphnebergen.be
Promo image for daphnebergen.be

Hands for DaphneBergen.be
Hands for DaphneBergen.be
Hands for DaphneBergen.be

2021 RAF Red Arrows

Nothing says airshow like the demonstration of the RAF Red Arrows. I always, always love their routine. They make my airshow experience complete. Their bright red BAE Systems Hawk T1 is a sight for sore eyes. I was thrilled to see they were coming to the 2021 Sanicole Airshow.

BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows

It wouldn’t be a Red Arrows demonstration without the spectacular crossing passes of the synchro pair. And I can’t resist trying to get a good shot of them.

BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows

I have seen the Red Arrows quite a bit of the years. And I have always tried to get those close up shots. That’s just one part of their show though. The big formations and the smoke is just as cool to see. I mean: how cool is it when they draw that big blue arch across the sky to thank healthcare workers for all their hard work. And how about that big heart the synchro pair does? I had planned to focus more on wider shots of the formation. I think I have a few nice ones.

BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows
BAE Systems Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows

Angel of the Pacific

Consolidated PBY Catalina at Sanicole Air Show

The Consolidated PBY Catalina is my all-time favorite airplane. A beautiful mix between a plane and boat. The wings high above the fuselage. A cockpit with panoramic view and those bug-eyed observation ports in the back… I just love it.

This flying boat served in the US Navy from 1936 to 1954 as a patrol bomber, search & rescue seaplane. It few countless hours of reconnaissance flights in the Pacific theater in World War II. They were of paramount importance during the Battle of Midway. And they rescued many young pilots that got shot down. So, these Catalinas were truly the angels of the Pacific.

Consolidated PBY Catalina at Sanicole Air Show
Consolidated PBY Catalina at Sanicole Air Show
Consolidated PBY Catalina at Sanicole Air Show

#PHOONFRIDAY

#PHOONFRIDAY is a thing on Twitter and Instagram. I see a lot of aviation photographers posting their Typhoon shots on Friday. And after this year’s Sanicole Airshow, I’ll join the fun.

The Italian Air Force dispatched their Typhoon demo to Kleine Brogel AB and Sanicole Airshow for 3 days of demonstrations. It was especially cool to see the plane up close when it taxied a long the runway at the spotters day on Saturday.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a fighter of the 4th generation designed by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo. It is primarily used by the air forces of Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain. For a while it was a contender to replace the F-16’s of the Belgian Air Force.

Eurofighter Typhoon at Kleine Brogel AB
Eurofighter Typhoon at Kleine Brogel AB
Eurofighter Typhoon at Sanicole Airshow
Eurofighter Typhoon at Sanicole Airshow

Purple Rain

Zana and I had a shoot planned for April 2020 when you-know-what reared its ugly head. All we could do, was postpone. And postpone again. And again. And again until finally we felt it was safe to shoot earlier this summer. We had hoped for a beautiful summer’s day so we could shoot outside. But instead, we got a chilly drizzle. We retreated to my studio where we shot this series on a lilac background. So, this was sorta a Purple Rain shoot.

We had a lot of fun though. And the results turned out just great. Thank you for a fun shoot Zana! Let’s do that again some time.

Model Zana Wearing Lilac Latex and Ballet Heels
Model Zana Wearing Lilac Latex and Ballet Heels
Model Zana Wearing Lilac Latex and Ballet Heels
Model Zana Wearing Lilac Latex and Ballet Heels
Model Zana Wearing Lilac Latex and Ballet Heels